Thursday, August 9, 2007

Abu Ghraib whistleblower fears for his life

I'm fortunate that the local public radio station carries the BBC News Hour in the afternoons during my commute home. Fortunate, because they often cover stories that the American media ignores. Such is one they have covered this week. Please read the following story from the BBC News:

Abu Ghraib whistleblower's ordeal

The US soldier who exposed the abuse of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison found himself a marked man after his anonymity was blown in the most astonishing way by Donald Rumsfeld.

When Joe Darby saw the horrific photos of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison he was stunned.

So stunned that he walked out into the hot Baghdad night and smoked half a dozen cigarettes and agonised over what he should do.

Joe Darby was a reserve soldier with US forces at Abu Ghraib prison when he stumbled across those images which would eventually shock the world in 2004.

They were photographs of his colleagues, some of them men and women he had known since high school — torturing and abusing Iraqi prisoners.

His decision to hand them over rather than keep quiet changed his life forever.

The military policeman has only been allowed to talk about that struggle very recently, and in his first UK interview, for BBC Radio 4's The Choice, he told Michael Buerk how he made that decision and how he fears for the safety of his family.

Read the rest here, including:

And then he was sitting in a crowded Iraqi canteen with hundreds of soldiers and Donald Rumsfeld came on the television to thank Joe Darby by name for handing in the photographs.


“I really find it hard to believe that the secretary of defence of the United States has no idea about the star witness for a criminal case being anonymous.”

Rather than turn on him for betraying colleagues, most of the soldiers in his unit shook his hand. It was at home where the real trouble started.

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